The Journey is Not Linear and Destiny is a Sham

The last time I wanted something this badly,
I didn’t know better.

You could fill up a room
with the opacity of that longing
all the noise gets pushed to the corners
voices in crevices, inconsequential
every step feels like a boss fight,
the final battle:
shed all of your blood!
spend all of your money!
alienate all of your friends!

prayers become blinders
you’d think a divine will was leading you
just because your own will
can’t possibly be that strong

your earnestness becomes a chant
this has no choice but to happen
this has no choice but to happen
this has no choice but to happen

for why else does it matter so much

there is no reason
there is no other possible ending

until it ends

and the word in fact was not made flesh
the promise didn’t cross the threshold
and there was no final act
of things falling into place
with a satisfying click
no violin music throbbing at the end of the pier
no passionate kiss for the rolling credits

just a faraway silence
and the thunder of innocence breaking open
and your eyes finally adjusting to the light,
to the blast of cold realization
that some questions will never
find answers

the world didn’t end?
how does that even make sense?
that’s some supreme level B.S.

and you should carry on, somehow
with indelible proof that chaos is king
tattooed on your left wrist.

The last time I wanted something this badly
it never occurred to me to feel fear.

The fear is everything now.

The Lack of Signs at Road’s End

It’s not the way we say goodbye
……….as if it were just words
……….as if it were not just words
…..how we mince intentions and try
……….to separate the hurting
……….from the designated survivors
that crosses the bridge
…..over to the place where
……….lasting change has happened
…..and things are done ending
……….and ready to begin.

It’s not the pieces pared thin
……….as if by a scalpel and
…..with hands that feel nothing
told they no longer make a whole
that will decide once and for all
…..that they are better off
…..not knowing what becomes
……….of the other,
…..abandoned half of the soul.

It’s not the pain
…..inflicted as deliberately as
turned backs and shouting can do it
that makes it finally easy
…..to curse the once favored.

It’s not the second time
…..nor the hundredth
……….nor the act of repetition
that makes it the last time.

……….It’s you.
It’s about how much more you can take.
It’s how badly you want the other thing
……….and how much is left
…..of what you had been when
…..you couldn’t imagine it ever
……….falling part, that it could
be anything but redemptive light.

From Man to Feeling to Symbol to Dust

I want to name
one of my mountains after you
or maybe a hurricane
or maybe a street.
I just can’t decide if you were
something I survived
or somewhere I used to live
or someone who once defined
the shape and impossibility
of how I perceived distance,
the backdrop of someday,
the boss fight
between the maybe never
and the blindfolded forever.

The Last Rendezvous

Dealing with loose ends
is autumn’s inconsistent lover

being high on a love affair,
both passionate and imagined,
with giving up shades of green
for reminders of gold,
streets that are littered
with wet love letters and
the feeling that everything
is about to change
and leave us alone

and so the bed of memory
becomes fire and we reach
a little farther than we are
prepared to let go
and try to finish things
haphazard,
the unkempt hair of last night’s
frolic with indecision getting
tangled with every goodbye,
every movement
towards the door

in turns negotiating,
then, lustily reveling
in the recollection
of once being so ignited
then, feigning indifference
as we run our fingers
along the place
where it still feels good
after it has stopped working

and we are dirty again
with moments
we’ve almost forgotten,
almost being the word we use
because it takes too much space
to say our innocence didn’t
get spared by the brutality
we have set the stage for,
because we gave too much

and we hurry to make sense
of the half-hearted healing,
parts of our skin still
covered in spring
and a bitter taste
on the corners of mouths
that find it too soon
to speak, but too late to kiss

reading between the lines
of the falling leaves before
they, too, become casualties
before the first snow
falls
as promised
and we should, somehow,
suddenly measure up
to this demanding, nearly
matrimonial devotion to shadows
and salting the frozen paths

and blaming the tilt of the axis
instead of chemistry failing
for the consummated,
unrequited, broken tether
to the lost summer.

Claiming the Scar

When the hurt released me,

– it was overdue

– I wasn’t home

– I was chasing after something that has
long ceased being my treasure but the
familiarity of the craving felt like muscle
memory leading a relentless dance, or
sleepwalking in a house where I knew
which way to go to avoid getting hurt
to the point of waking up and stopping

– I hadn’t arrived but it was the decision
to go that triggered my ascent into
freedom and closing the distance was
necessary but it wasn’t the point

– it happened inside my head

– I could argue that I’d been released way
earlier than this but seasons change
gradually and in the end you call it
spring long after the snow has thawed

– I had written everything there was left
to write about closure and divorcing the
past, and the blank page stares back at
me, lined with silver like the blessing of
rain

– it feels like a host of things happening
all at once: the pleasure of a deep
breath, the anxiety of a new world, the
ghost claws reminding you where they’d
been when they held you, the flesh
asking where to go now that they can
go where they please, the mind trying
to find the right way to say that it is its
own master and things are still the
same only with more light

– it was neither sophisticated nor editorial

– it was told to me in a language that
would have also been understood by
the younger version of me that signed
away her future to a period of hurting
because she hadn’t known any better
and had been led to believe it was how
love worked

– it’s not wrong to say it was beautiful
while it lasted

– it’s not the heartbreak that made me
special; it was the heart

– I feel bigger

– tomorrow I might wonder how I stayed
so small that long, but not today

– the hurt released me when I knew
enough to not miss what was hurting
me and that’s the part that takes the
longest

– anything is possible

No, Thanks

It was only when I was finally
standing face to face with
everything you have to offer
that it became clear that
you saw my body as the prize
instead of a vessel
for something more
beautiful and infinite,
that all these years
you were focused on some
trivial snippet of my soul
while entire galaxies
evolved right past you
without your ever noticing.

I am not something
you can hold in your small hands.

Finding Pompeii

Closer and closer
to the edge
of the heart’s known universe
like a surreal dream floating
down the aisle in my dress
of exquisitely crafted grace
from repurposed regrets
towards the altar overrun
by cobwebs
a hundred years after
neither bride nor groom
showed up at the wedding
the guests are all dead
and forgotten
love’s memory erased
and the world was rebooted

I could never really see
too far past the veil
but all the steps that mattered
still brought me here

so this is what it looks like
what it feels like
even with the walls in ruins
and life with its ash-eclipsed suns
and igneous sorrows interfering
there must be a reason why I still
hear faint strains of the song
that was going to carry me to
the destiny I turned my back on,
or was that how it went?
I don’t remember anymore.

But I pack my bags with newer reasons
and look around to find a glitch
in the matrix, showing me
glimpses of how it could have been
if this had happened
then, instead of now
the same place, a different time,
with two different people
that are no longer your or I.

One is a doomed fairy tale
and the other a crossroad.
Do I call you and say,
“Hey, I made it.”?
That must be worth something,
at least. In this
mega factory of vignettes
and poetic moments devoid
of context, a story
with an ending is currency.

This isn’t a rewriting,
but a pilgrimage to a time
of which there is nothing left
but fossils and specters.

Still, might you meet me
at the Golden Gate so we can
disturb the ancient burial grounds
in search of some kind of key
that unlocks all the pain, finally?
Will it give me back my innocence?
The last time I saw it, it was
shaped like a bell and felt
heavy in my hand like
lightning before it struck.

For the Ocean I Never Crossed

The last time I saw you,
we were happy.

The rest of our story
was coursed through
a great distance.
The fights.
The tears.
The goodbyes.
The futile trying again.
And again.
The goodbyes.
Through pings and pixels.
Ones and zeros.

All my memories
of the times we touched
had been untouched
by the bad parts.

And so I hold on to a small page
that had been full
of color and music
and layers of splendid,
as if it were enough
to stand up to the rest
of the saga of destruction,
of undoing,
spanning many volumes,
wasting many years.

Closure is a contortion of a flame,
once having kindled a devotion
to a premise, bending
the farthest ends of its reaches
inward, beyond pain
and the natural flow of feeling,
to touch the closest thing ever held,
past the burning, past
the tantalizing brightness obscuring
the collapse of that premise,

and teach it to move.

Outside of the blue soul.
Towards the smooth,
healing mercy of night.

The Intoxicating Aesthetic

When I do indulge in pangs of regret,
it’s not for my heart
or for yours
anymore
but for a well-written story
that wouldn’t have the ending
I thought it deserved.
It’s no longer you that I’ve lost
but the verses that will never be written
about a love that once inspired
so much devotion to expression,
so much power in the hands of one muse.

For we loved more with our words
than with our bodies,

how we crossed over from nights to mornings
with lyrical movements
across the virgin white of the screen
spilling imagery that carried our mingled scents
and ran its fingers along the creases
of the yet to be imagined

how we chose as our meeting places
private symbolisms on the other side of the page:
the poised kiss, the autumn leaf, the caps lock

how we made of commonplace romance
complex allegories of freedom
layered in self-discovery
and nakedly rolling in ink and sawdust,
ego and beautiful lies and raw emotion
that sometimes stung,
sometimes burned exquisite scars on our skin

how we redefined our inner storms
with the thrill of tainted revelations
that were more rhyme than reason

how the darkness wept haikus while we slept
on fatal shards of bitter fights
and fragments of immortal sonnets awakened
to the shivering of broken pride
and found pieces of their lost soul
in the restless space between
our opposite stillness
anticipating the surrender of the first touch

how stanzas of light flowed
from the hiding of hurts
the unraveling of lies
the seeping into stagnancy
of a future once jealously harbored
like fugitive bliss
becoming taboo
crawling under the many goodbyes
we seemed to never tire of saying
and taking back.

I’ve come so far but every time I look back
the road is still paved with sentences
you and I would never say again.

I believed in us so much,
not because we might be right for each other
but for the possibility
that the poetry of our wrongness
might somehow architect a transcendence
and more—a redemption.

I forgot that some of those words were only mine,

not yours.